UGA Landscape Alerts Can Add Value to Services You Offer!

As you receive the Landscape Alert emails, we want you to use this information from UGA to continue to improve the services you offer and to give you a competitive advantage in the landscape and turf industry. Here are some ideas on how to do this:

When you receive an Alert on a recent pest outbreak:

  • Use the Alert information to train workers how to look for this pest and how to determine if some type of control is needed. This may offer the opportunity for a sale to your customer.
  • If you see the pest in a landscape, notify the client that you have found this pest and if there is any need for concern. Even if you do not have to manage the pest, the client will appreciate this information and this will build your rapport with your client.
  • Leave a copy of the specific Alert on that pest with the client or direct them to the Alerts.
  • Link to the Alerts on your website or re-issue the Alerts to your customers in your own email newsletter, as a mail out, etc. Please keep the original author’s information on whatever you publish so the readers will know the information comes from UGA.

Use Alerts for training workers (especially on rainy days!)

You could also make a notebook of pertinent Alerts and other information and put it in every vehicle to use to identify problems.

Train workers using the online bilingual safety videos

Listed under Safety Training for Landscape Workers. This improves safety, protects workers and reduces liability. Make certain that your insurance provider knows that you provide this training and certify that all workers have been trained. This free online program includes a certificate upon completion.

If an Alert mentions that it is time for a particular type of service (aerating, planting, seeding, mulching, etc.) then begin to promote that service with your customers.

Information from UGA will help the customer understand the importance of performing these services at the right time of the year and can lead to further sales for your business. These turf calendars can also help with this.

Alerts can help you to train your customers.

Some customers may not realize the need to follow recommendations that you make concerning proper watering, timely maintenance, etc.

Many landscape problems are actually due to improper care. Information from the Alerts or other UGA publications can help you to make your point when you encourage homeowners concerning their responsibilities to properly maintain their landscapes. This might include proper watering, mowing, pruning, fertilization, etc. You could also train the client to look out for certain types of pests or other problems and then to contact you for control measures.

Landscape Alert readers also receive information on upcoming trainings and events.

  • Keep your certifications up to date with these trainings.
  • Make certain your clients know of your certifications, memberships and trainings you attend so they will realize the ongoing training you receive. You could publish a short article once a year to let clients know of your ongoing training or of recent certifications that employees receive.

Alerts promote helpful publications from UGA.

  • Bookmark these online or print a copy for your use.
  • Share these publications with clients as you work to provide the best service possible for them. They will appreciate the fact that your recommendations are backed by UGA research and information.

My hope is that Landscape Alerts help you as you serve your customers!

Insects and Cold Weather

Vector of West Nile Virus

Elmer Gray, University of Georgia, Entomology Department

With this winter’s unusually cold temperatures, the question of how these conditions affect insects is sure to arise. It is of little surprise that our native insects can usually withstand significant cold spells, particularly those insects that occur in the heart of winter. Insect fossils indicate that some forms of insects have been in existence for over 300 million years. As a result of their long history and widespread occurrence, insects are highly adaptable and routinely exist and thrive, despite extreme weather conditions. Vast regions of the northern-most latitudes are well known for their extraordinary mosquito and black fly populations despite having extremely cold winter conditions.

The question then arises, how do insects survive such conditions? In short, insects survive in cold temperatures by adapting. Some insects, such as the Monarch Butterfly migrate to warmer areas. However, most insects use other techniques to survive the cold.

Vector of West Nile Virus
Southern House Mosquito, Pest and Diseases Image Library,

In temperate regions like Georgia, the shortening day length during the fall stimulates insects to prepare for the inevitable winter that follows. As a result, many insects overwinter in a particular life stage, such as eggs or larvae. Many mosquitoes overwinter in the egg stage, such as our common urban pest the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), waiting for warmer temperatures and sufficient water levels to hatch in the spring. Another technique is to take advantage of protected areas, as do adult Culex mosquitoes overwintering in the underground storm drain systems. Other insects overwinter as larvae or pupae in the soil, protected from the most extreme temperatures. However, this still doesn’t answer how insects survive freezing temperatures, only to become active as warmer temperatures return.

All insects have a preferred range of temperatures at which they thrive. As the temperature drops below this range the insects become less active until they eventually cannot move. A gradual decline in temperatures, coupled with a shortening day length, serves to prepare an insect to tolerate freezing temperatures. Several factors are important to this tolerance.

The primary thing that an insect has to avoid is the formation ice crystals within their body. Ice crystals commonly form around some type of nucleus. As a result, overwintering insects commonly stop feeding so as to not have food material in their gut where ice crystals can form. This reduction in feeding will also result in a reduction in water intake.

A degree of desiccation increases the concentration of electrolytes in the insect hemolymph (blood) and tissues. In addition, insects that can tolerate the coldest of temperatures often convert glycogen to glycerol. These electrolytes and glycerol create a type of insect antifreeze. This will lower the freezing point of the insect to well below freezing, a condition described as supercooling. When this occurs, the insect can withstand extremely cold temperatures for extended periods.

However, at some point insects will suffer increased mortality, possibly due to desiccation, toxicity or starvation. Nevertheless, insects are well adapted to survive freezing temperatures, especially after a few 100 million years to perfect their systems. It is generally assumed that introduced pest insects from sub- and tropical areas would be more susceptible to extended cold spells, but depending on their ability to find local refuges and their numbers and adaptability, they likely will remain viable and persist as pests as well.

In summary, entomologists don’t expect the cold winter to have a significant impact on insect populations this spring. Local conditions related to moisture and overall seasonal temperatures (early spring/late spring) will play a much more important role in insect numbers as we move from winter to summer and prepare for the insects that will be sure to follow.

Online Training for the Pest Control Industry

Past trainings and webinars have been recorded and made available online. For more information, click on the links below. Not all webinars originate from Georgia, so not all information may be pertinent to our area.

This website lists the available online trainings.

Are Those Itsy Bitsy Spiders Good or Bad? May 2, 2014

Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia.
People list spiders as one of their greatest fears.  This webinar helps you to identify and to understand the biology of spiders common in Georgia. Click here to view the webinar  For more webinars in this series, see All Bugs Good and Bad 2014 Webinar Series.

Dealing with People Who Think They are Infested with Invisible Bugs February 19, 2014

Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Professor of Medical-Veterinary Entomology at the University of Georgia.

The presentation is available as a podcast at these two sites. You may need to download QuickTime to view the video.

Home Invaders (Kudzu bugs and others) October 2, 2013

Dr Dan Suiter, Professor and Program Leader-Urban Entomology, University of Georgia.

Category 41 (Mosquito Control) Exam Review to prepare applicators to take the GA Department of Agriculture commercial pesticide applicator exam June 2013

Elmer Gray, UGA Entomology Department.

The Bugs That Won’t Go Away: Your role in delusional infestation March 27, 2013

Dr Nancy Hinkle, UGA Entomologist

Dr. Peter Lepping, Consultant Psychiatrist, Visiting Professor at Glyndwr University in Wrexham, Wales

Ant Control Made Easy May 17, 2012

How Can You Tell if You Have Odorous House Ants? Dr. Karen Vail, University of Tennessee

Understanding the Biology and Behavior of Carpenter Ants Dr. Dan Suiter, University of Georgia

Managing Problems with Pharaoh Ants Dr. Michael Merchant, Texas A&M University

Fire Ant Control Made Easy May 10, 2012 

How Can You Tell if You Have Fire Ants? Dr. Jason Oliver, Tennessee State University

Understanding the Biology and Behavior of Fire Ants, Vicky Bertagnolli-Heller, Clemson University

Managing Imported Fire Ants, Dr. Bastiaan Drees, Professor, Texas A&M University

Biological Control of Fire Ants, Dr. Lawrence Graham, Auburn University

Indianmeal moth is most common stored food pest in Georgia

Information from Daniel R. Suiter, Michael D. Toews, and Lisa M. Ames, UGA Department of Entomology

Several dozen insect species infest food and non-food products of plant and animal origin commonly found in homes. Most of these stored product pests are small beetles or moths. Often the first sign of a stored product pest infestation is the sudden, unexplained and persistent presence of numerous insects in a particular area of the home.

The UGA Department of Entomology has an excellent resource for identifying and controlling stored product pests in the home. The following article on Indianmeal moth is an excerpt from this publication. See the entire publication here.

The Indianmeal moth (approximately 1/2 inch long) is the most common stored product pest found in homes, where it commonly infests cereal and other grain-based foods.
The Indianmeal moth (approximately 1/2 inch long) is the most common stored product pest found in homes, where it commonly infests cereal and other grain-based foods.

The Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella, is the most common stored product pest in homes, where it infests bird seed, breakfast cereals, and other consumables.

Indianmeal moths are most commonly found infesting food items in kitchen cupboards, but adults may be found throughout the home because they are excellent fliers and readily disperse from the food item they are infesting. Adults may be found well-away from the larval food source.

Adult Indianmeal moths are distinctive in appearance. Their wings are bi-colored, and alternate between beige and copper. Moths are most active at dusk, when they can be seen (indoors) flying while searching for mates and food. During the day, moths can be found resting motionless on walls and ceilings, often near their larval food source. Adults are shortlived and do not feed.

Indianmeal moth larvae (approximately 5/8 inch long and dirty-white to pink to greenish colored) often crawl away from feeding sites before they pupate.
Indianmeal moth larvae (approximately 5/8 inch long and dirty-white to pink to greenish colored) often crawl away from feeding sites before they pupate.

Indianmeal moth larvae, just before they pupate, are approximately 5/8 inch long, cylindrical, and dirty-white to a faint pink or green color. Larvae produce visible silk webbing in the items they infest and generally pupate close to the items they are infesting.

Just prior to pupation, larvae crawl away from their feeding site to pupate at the intersection of a ceiling and wall or similar seam within the cupboard, including spaces between walls and shelves and in the tight folds of packaging. Another favorite pupation site is between the corrugations of cardboard boxes. When looking for Indianmeal moths, inspectors should look between a product’s cardboard box and liner by lifting the liner out of the box.

A telltale sign of Indianmeal moth infestation is the presence of silk webbing produced by larvae.
A telltale sign of Indianmeal moth infestation is the presence of silk webbing produced by larvae.

For information on control read these sections of the publication:

Solving a Current Infestation of Stored Product Pests

Preventing Future Infestations of Stored Product Pests

Topics in the Stored Product Pests in the Home publication include:

UGA Urban Pest Management Webinar Series

Kudzu bug
Kudzu bug Daniel R. Suiter, UGA,

Come experience the future of training for Georgia’s pest management industry! The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, powered by the Digital Innovation Group, has developed a training program that will allow pest management professionals to obtain re-certification and re-registration credit on-line, in the comfort of their home or office. Although anyone, anywhere can attend, CCU/CEU credit is granted for pest management professionals in GA, FL, AL, SC, NC, and TN.

All your computer will need is the ability to access the internet. No special software is needed on your part. Logging on, watching a live online presentation (called a webinar), and then going back to work is just a few mouse clicks away. No more long drives and time off work to acquire credits!

Mark your calendar for the 2014 webinar series (all webinars 8:00 to 10:00 am).

February 19. Dr. Nancy Hinkle, University of Georgia on Delusory Parasitosis (See archive here)
April 16. Dr. Susan Jones, The Ohio State University on Bed Bug Monitoring
June 18. Mr. Elmer Gray, University of Georgia on Mosquito Biology
August 20. Dr. Brian Forschler, University of Georgia on Termite Biology and Dan Suiter, University of Georgia on Demystifying Wood-eating Beetles
October 15. Dr. Karen Vail, Univ. of TN, Dept. of Entomology on An Integrated Approach to Managing Odorous House Ants and Dr. Eric Benson, Clemson University, Dept of Entomology on Stopping the Occasion of the Occasional Invaders
December 10. Dr. Ron Harrison, Orkin Technical Services on Bed Bug Control and Dr. Faith Oi , Univ of FL, Dept. of Ent. The Tawny Crazy Ant 

How the Program Will Work. Several weeks prior to the event, Dr. Dan Suiter will announce the webinar by email. In the email will be instructions on how to register. If you’d like to be put on his mailing list, simply send an email to Dr. Suiter at, and note that you’d like to be notified when registration for each webinar opens. Or, if you’d simply like to learn more about the series feel free to call Dan at 770-233-6114 to chat.

Hope to see you on-line!
Dan Suiter, Ph.D.
Department of Entomology
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
University of Georgia, Griffin Campus
1109 Experiment St, Griffin, GA 30223